Depending on which corner of the Dallas neighborhood you find yourself on you might catch a different chapter of the story of giant robot, The Traveling Man, be it his birth, his stroll or his rest.
The three large installations in the neighborhood are the work of artist Brad Oldham who created the figures in order to replace a previous bunch of murals that were once seen as the welcoming symbol of the neighborhood. Once the murals had to be taken down due to construction of a light rail system, The Traveling Man statues were born. Each of the figures is built of polished metal sheets held together with rivets, all meant to evoke the railway history of the neighborhood of Deep Ellum.
Moving from one statue to another the story of the Traveling Man proceeds from birth to life. The first statue, called Awakening, features just a portion of the Traveling Man’s head and one of his clamps emerging from a pit of gravel as one of his songbird pals looks on. According to the story devised by the planners of the robot mascot The Traveling Man began life as a regular locomotive buried beneath an elm tree, but when a splash of gin was spilled on the roots of the tree, the weird folktale transformer emerged from the ground.
Continuing down Good Latimer Street, you next find the huge robot reclining against a piece of debris salvaged from one of Deep Ellum’s old rail tunnels. This time The Traveling Man is represented in full with a smile and a guitar as he sits with his legs leisurely crossed in a piece known as Waiting on the Train.
Finally The Traveling Man lives up to his name in the last, and tallest piece of the three. In Walking Tall The Traveling Man is seen taking a jaunty stroll with his avian sidekicks on his arm and around his feet.
The Traveling Man, in all of his forms, are located not far from the Deep Ellum light rail station making him the ambassador for the area, reminding visitors and locals alike not only of the neighborhood’s history with trains but also its more recent history as a cradle for the arts.